These 4 Reporters Got Ratioed Into Oblivion for Tweeting About Biden’s Xavier Becerra Mispronunciation


Several reporters faced fierce backlash when they tweeted about President-elect Joe Biden’s quickly-corrected mispronunciation of Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Xavier Becerra’s last name as he was announcing the appointment.

On Tuesday afternoon, President-elect Biden held a press conference to announce members of his incoming administration’s health team, including Becerra. As he delivered his opening remarks, Biden announced the selection of Becerra, mispronouncing his name before quickly correcting himself, and listed his accomplishments and qualifications.

That moment was memorialized in tweets from many reporters, but four in particular sparked a blizzard of reactions.

ABC News political reporter Johnny Verhovek wrote “Biden mispronounces the last name of his HHS nominee, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra,” and added “He then quickly corrected himself.”

Verhovek’s rather anodyne recounting of the moment achieved a 4-to-1 ratio of replies to likes, but with the lowest volume of responses of the lot.

The Daily Beast‘s Sam Stein was about even with Verhovek ratio-wise, but with ten times the volume for his tweet, which read “Oooof. Biden says Xavier BACK-A-Ria. Before correcting himself.”

Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire wrote “Biden rather incorrectly pronounces ‘Becerra’ as he introduces his new HHS pick,” and achieved a 7-to-1 ratio with over 8,000 replies and quote-tweets.

And The Washington Post‘s Seung Min Kim had by far the most responses at over 10,000 and a more than 4-to-1 ratio for tweeting “Biden botches the pronunciation of “Becerra” as he introduces his pick to lead HHS.”

There were several themes to the criticism, among them the many gaffes and other more serious actions of President Donald Trump, the president-elect’s well-documented struggle with a speech impediment, the more pressing issues facing the country, and a general weariness with less-than-substantive coverage.

The reactions to even relatively minor mentions of the flub reflect a palpably gun-shy section of the Twitterverse that has been critical of journalists who have spent four years normalizing Trump, and whom they now fully expect to pick Biden apart at every opportunity.

It’s also worth noting that while Kim and Lemire each have less than half as many as followers as Stein — whose tweet was the most critical of Biden, but who has long been a fixture in progressive media — they bore the brunt of the backlash.

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